There aren't many things that can energize a fan base like a true freshman that bursts on the scene. In a game where the players come and go but the program remains the same, a true freshman can provide the greatest opportunity to truly look "down the road." And this same chance to dream is afforded those fantasy owners that invest their time and energy into keeper leagues, as that true freshman can be the building block for present and future fantasy success.
Today the fans at Michigan and Pittsburgh are suddenly much more optimistic about what 2009, 2010, 2011 and maybe even 2012 will bring. This is because the first two weeks have seen the latest BMOC emerge.
The storied Michigan program has seen its fair share of ballyhooed youngsters, some who shine brightly but eventually fade a bit, but many who become legends in Ann Arbor. And Pitt has its fair share of running back tradition, and it was replacing the latest great Panther back, LeSean McCoy, that was job one for Dave Wannstedt heading into the season.
In a performance witnessed by well over 100,000 and against Notre Dame on national television, and in a relatively overlooked drubbing of Buffalo, Saturday witnessed the emergence of two young stars in Tate Forcier and Dion Lewis, and fantasy owners that invested a selection in either should be very optimistic about what's to come.
Many expected Dion Lewis to quickly emerge as the lead back at Pitt; and many Michigan fans had crazy expectations for Forcier. Still, the most seasoned observers realize the difference between playing on Fridays and Saturdays often requires patience. Neither player has proven to have that virtue. Forcier has been the catalyst to a rejuvenated Michigan squad, accounting for six scores and 536 yards from scrimmage in his first two collegiate contests. Lewis is averaging 7.3 yards per carry, with 319 yards and four scores in his first two games.
Each player will certainly have his freshman moments. However each will also have plenty more great moments like yesterday, and of course more freshmen across the country will have their own coronations as the season progresses. The names on the back of the jerseys may not say Dorsett, Leach, Heyward or Henne, but these two freshmen (and those nationwide) all bring the same wide-eyed enthusiasm and desire to continue what's been done by those before them.
And this annual gridiron changing of the guard is yet another of college football's great traits
Looks like Case Keenum and the rest of Kevin Sumlin's Houston Cougars are no longer just a college fantasy football secret. The fact that Oklahoma State was reminded about the potential "letdown" following their win over Georgia is even greater confirmation that the Cougars have arrived. Everyone told Oklahoma State that Houston was good, and Case Keenum and Co. went out and proved it to them on Saturday.
Ryan Williams and David Wilson both ran very well for the Hokies, and with the Cornhuskers coming to town it will be interesting to see how much the running back load is split. Ryan Williams is the starter, and 16-164-3 is very impressive. Though David Wilson's 12-165-1 says give me the ball as well against those Blackshirts.
Speaking of even more, how about that Taylor Potts? 456 yards and seven touchdown passes mean he's officially a part of the Red Raider Quarterback Club, and a must-start on a weekly basis.
It was great to see DeAndre Brown back in action for Southern Miss. A 7-75 day should have him ready to take his place among the nation's elite wide receivers.
Look for Dan LeFevour to build on his great performance in Spartan Stadium. 328 yards passing and three scores could easily become 450 and four against some conference foes.
Coming off a huge performance in the win over Colorado, it will be very interesting to see what Aaron Opelt can do against the Buckeyes. The fact that this game will be played in Cleveland rather than The Horseshoe makes it more likely that Opelt and his Rockets give Ohio State fits.
Jake Locker's 253 yards passing and four total touchdowns tell us we have a definite fantasy-worthy quarterback. And while not many deem a win over Idaho as something to write home about, it's still nice to see the Huskies moved past that goose egg.
It ain't always pretty, but Bo Levi Mitchell and SMU are improving by leaps and bounds. And a win in Pullman next week puts the Mustangs at 3-0. And after Greg Alexander lit up Washington State to the tune of 453-3, there's no reason to think that Mitchell won't post comparable numbers.
Arizona brings a very balanced attack to Iowa next weekend. Many fantasy owners likely missed Nic Grigsby's 15 carries for 207 yards and two scores as the game went late, but this back, along with the Wildcats, seems to be putting it all together.
Following some week one struggles, North Carolina State's Russell Wilson sure came back with a vengeance against Murray State, posting four scores in the blowout.
Ok...Ralph Bolden is officially a fantasy-worthy back. More than the 123 yards and two scores is his ability to carry the rock 29 times against Oregon.
Did anyone else notice that Kodi Burns ran for three touchdowns and threw for another? Only Gus Malzahn can make a fantasy factor out of a guy that loses the starting quarterback battle.
You know that tired old movie script where the dude is infatuated with the hot girl, and spends all of his time focused on her while, golly gee, the girl that's perfect for him is right there next to him, only she's wearing baggy clothes and glasses instead of a leather mini-skirt? Well, Arrelious Benn is that girl in the mini-skirt. He looks great and fantasy owners are infatuated with his incredible talent, all the while we sit much more productive receivers, convinced that Benn is going to break out.
I hope the Rice fans enjoyed every moment of last year's offense.
Fantasy owners should see MiQuale Lewis' inability to get anything done against New Hampshire as a sign to cut bait. It's going to be a long season in Muncie.
I really expected UTEP to give the Kansas defense a run for its money, but it appears that Trevor Vittatoe and his buddies will only make noise against the lightweights, and not even this is assured.
It's a good thing I recommended that fantasy owners sit Boise State's Kellen Moore this week. Who needs 307 yards and four touchdowns? Thankfully Moore was given a little rest, otherwise he would have gone for even more.
Cincinnati visiting Oregon State next weekend is one of the nation's more intriguing matchups. Should the Bearcats come back with a victory there's a chance that they may not lose for a long time, long enough to make the Big East bashers come out in droves once the BCS rankings are released.
It may have been too early to give up on Rutgers. In Tom Savage, Jourdan Brooks and Tim Brown the Scarlet Knights have three fantasy factors. Greg Schiano has shown an ability to hunker down and get things back on track.
Waiver Wire Sneak Peek
We're still crunching the numbers, and the waiver wire will be updated soon. However at first glance here are a few guys that may be available. Should any of these fellas be out there then the time to grab them is now.
QB Aaron Opelt, Toledo
QB Tate Forcier, Michigan
RB Ralph Bolden, Purdue
RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
WR Rodney Bradley, Hawaii
WR Blair White, Michigan State
WR Lyle Leong, Texas Tech